Selling in 2014 is all about helping prospects come to a decision that is mutually beneficial. Simply put, you should gain a customer and your prospect should gain a truly valuable product or service.
"Wait, hasn't sales always been about that?"
Yes, but sales has changed dramatically. Customers are more well-informed than ever before, so the role of the sales person has really shifted from "information-deliverer" to "finding-a-match-consultant".
The power of recommendations
Given that the most effective salespeople in 2014 are these "match-consultants", it's critical that salespeople are perceived as (and hopefully are) experts or authorities in that particular field. Prospects today want salespeople to help them figure out whether a product/service is a match for their needs, and then to identify exactly how a solution should be delivered.
Now, it goes without saying that potential customers want to feel validated by their purchases, and buy from experts or authorities. When you walk into a hardware store, you feel confident with your purchase, if the old dude behind the counter knows what he's talking about.
In the same way, we feel uncomfortable when we feel we're dealing with someone inexperienced, or lacking knowledge in their field. Think about all the times you've dealt with a bored teenager working in retail. The lack of trust adds so much friction to the buying process, and even if you go through with a purchase - it's uncomfortable.
Interestingly though, far too few salespeople use this technique and deliver recommendations to their prospects, and by doing os - they're leaving plenty of cash and customers on the table.
The easiest way to be an expert? Recommend things. Make suggestions. Tell prospects why you're making those recommendations. Too many salespeople are scared of being pushy, and ask prospects things like - "which package are you leaning towards?". Don't be pushy, but make sure you're in control. They're buying from you because it's your job, and you know best.
"I suggest we get started on the premium plan, that's going to give you enough room to grow over the next couple of months"
"Personally, I'd go for the X2000 edition, it's far higher quality and will last you longer"
Be an expert, be an authority. Believe in what you sell. Make sure you're in control of the sales process. Make sure your prospects trust in your instincts and recommendations. If you do, you'll find yourself crushing your targets in no time.